If you're just getting used to camera phones, the mobile world has yet another surprise in store for you. Handsets with video capability have been rolling out from most of the big carriers this year, and with the introduction of the Samsung SCH-A670, Verizon Wireless joins the video family. Designed much like the for Verizon, the flip phone has the signature Samsung styling, with a silver shell and rounded edges. Yet despite its attractive look, the handset disappointingly lacks a couple of key features. At $199.99, it's a fair price for a video phone, but you should be able to find it at a discount with a service agreement. Sleek and streamlined are two words that come to mind when you're looking at the Samsung SCH-A670. Like its cousin, the , the A670's compact dimensions (3.2 by 1.8 by 1.0 inches) enable it to fit in almost any pocket, while the lack of sharp corners makes it comfortable to hold while you're talking. At 3.8 ounces, it's on the heavy side, but its construction feels especially solid; that extra bulk isn't for naught. A small, 65,000-color external display shows the date, time, battery life, and signal strength, as well as caller ID and picture caller ID (where available). It's also smartly set in a mirrored frame. The screen is quite difficult to see when the backlighting is off, however, so be sure to adjust it to your liking. Immediately above the screen is the camera lens and the flash, while a small LED light sits on the top-right corner and blinks for incoming calls.
Open the phone, and you're immediately drawn to the 65,000-color main display. Though it's bright and crisp, and the text font is large, the 1.75-inch-diagonal screen is difficult to see in direct sunlight. Available in two styles, the animated menus are easy to master via either the main controls or the volume rocker on the phone's left side. Set in a circular pattern, the navigation controls are spacious and easy to manipulate. A four-way toggle gives one-touch access to messaging, the Web browser, Verizon's Get It Now service, and one user-defined function, while two soft keys open the menu and the phone book. We also like the dedicated OK button set in the center of the toggle. And though there's no dedicated camera button inside the phone, there's a shutter key on the mobile's right side. Be advised, though; it's easy to activate the camera by mistake.
The kidney-shaped keypad buttons are well spaced for such a small handset. Though they are set flush with the surface of the phone, the controls are lit by a blue backlight and are a different color than the phone itself. As a result, misdials are rare.The Samsung SCH-A670 comes with a solid set of features. There's a 500-name phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers and an e-mail address. Contacts can also be paired with pictures and any of the 5 monophonic or 10 polyphonic ring tones for use with caller ID. Other offerings include a vibrate mode, a scheduler, text and multimedia messaging, a to-do list, a memo pad, one-minute voice memos, a countdown timer, an alarm clock, a world clock, a calculator, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, and voice dialing. We were disappointed, however, that the A670 doesn't include a speakerphone, Bluetooth, or an infrared port.